Recently, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi have been making news, even though they are, in fact, anything but new – fermented foods have been around for thousands of years. For people living without modern medicine and refrigeration, fermentation has always been not only a simple means of food preservation, but also a way to imbue foods with health-promoting properties, an essential tool for maintaining the gut health.
Over the course of the last century however, fermented foods fell off most dinner plates, their medicinal effects wiped out by pasteurization, resulting in a dead-on-arrival food supply, stripped of the live bacteria the gut needs to stay in balance. Fortunately though, there is a deliciously easy fix for this modern problem: incorporate more probiotic, fermented foods into your diet and put those live, good-for-you organisms back where they belong – in your gut! Here’s a food-for-thought introduction to the health-boosting power of the fermented foods and how to get more of them into your daily diet:
1. Fermented Foods Help Fight Off Disease
It’s estimated that roughly 70% – 80% of your immune system is in your gut. Feed it poorly and your gut will be left with few defenses, easily overwhelmed by bad bacteria, wide open to disease-triggering inflammation and plagued by gastro-intestinal ills like IBS-type symptoms (i.e., gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, etc.). In your weakened state, you may also be more susceptible to colds and flu. But, if you introduce good bacteria into the gastric mix via fermented foods, you’ll enable your gut to crush opportunistic invaders and disease-triggering inflammation, long before they can gain the upper hand. Simply put: A healthy, balanced gut can send illness packing.
2. Fill ‘er Up, Twice a Day
To fortify your gut, start incorporating small servings of fermented foods, once or twice a day. Toss fermented veggies like beets or sauerkraut into salads; enjoy them on their own; as a side dish or, if you’re feeling adventurous, consider adding a spoonful or two to your morning smoothie. I like adding a few fermented beet slices and a splash of beet juice to my berry smoothies, particularly on those days when I feel like my gut needs a boost.
Article from The Epoch Times, by Dr. Frank Lipman, April 14, 2014.